Poised at the edge of the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer is blanketed in golden-brown sand, evocative of Arabian tales and legends. The town itself is a wonder: Studded with stone forts and palaces that resemble sand castles, the enchanting city is one of Rajasthan’s secret gems. Its sandstone ramparts, tanned to a honeycomb color by the setting sun of Rajasthan, have given Jaisalmer its reputation as the “Golden City”.
From the lakeside city of Udaipur, we head further north, deeper into the heart of Rajasthan. This region is known for its strong adherence to traditions of the past – man wearing colorful turbans, women in bright saris, cows roaming its streets. That’s precisely what makes Rajasthan such a compelling place to visit.
Rising above the city of Jaisalmer is the golden-brown sandstone fort. From the fort, you can get a gorgeous panorama of the compact town and the surrounding Thar Desert. Jaisalmer’s skyline is packed with square sandstone housing and sharp towers of Hindu temples.
Embellished with latticed balconies, peacock-shaped windows and mosaic tiles, the fort resembles a lavish palace more than a battle ground. The old Maharajas’ (kings) sleeping area, throne and jewelry are all on display.
Within the fort itself lies several Hindu and Jain temples, each dedicated to a different god. Admire the intricate carvings or give offerings to the shrines built within. While traveling in India, I have stumbled upon temples of distinctive background, beliefs and practices. Amongst them, the Jain temples in Jaisalmer are some of the most unique I’ve seen.
Mansions built centuries ago have long lost their shine, but today, these havelis still stand strong, offering visitors a rare glimpse into the region’s prosperous past. The havelis’ intricately-carved exterior, elaborate latticed patios and beautiful fountains are evident to yesteryear’s glory.
Streets and People of Jaisalmer
Backdropped by the ubiquitous sandstone, the streets of Jaisalmer are beautifully livened up by colors. The bright red, purple, orange saris and turbans that Rajasthani people adorn contrast immaculately against a blanket of yellow.